My own words are coming back to haunt me “you won’t find recipes on this blog” so you’re going to have to forgive me but Christmas is when I get to break my own rules…technically though, it’s not my recipe.
I love cooking, despite stating before I was married that I would never be a cooking wife, I really enjoy food. Roast dinners, whilst exhausting, are one of my favorite things to get stuck in to and at Christmas, now that I am apart from my family, I am the one who does it in the Hutton household.
I like to be a little different each year so when I was given the opportunity to review Gordon Ramsey’s Christmas cookbook, I knew that the only way I was going to do a review justice was to actually try out a recipe or two.
Over the weekend we got our Festive on and put up our very first Christmas Tree – the reason for a lack of tree and decorations each year has been because I’ve spent two of our married Christmases in England with the family but this year, with the approach of a new addition to the brood, we wanted to start our own traditions.
To celebrate our Christmas-themed day, I decided to do a meaty dish out of the cookbook and chose the honey glazed ham – trimmings to be from the Shante cookbook.
We got our gammon from Checkers and as the recipe dictated, put it in a big pot covered with water and added one onion, 4 chopped carrots, 1 leek, coriander seeds, 1 cinnamon stick, 3 bay leaves, a handful of cloves and black peppercorns and left it to boil for 2 1/2 hours.
Once cooked, lift out of pan (keep liquid for gravy) and careful remove the skin and fat whilst not cutting into the meat. Score the top in a diamond shape and stud with cloves.
The sticky honey glaze smelt beautiful as it was cooking. Made from mixing 100g demerara sugar, 50ml dry sherry, 25ml vinegar and 125g honey.
Place your prepared piece of gammon in an oven tray and pour over half of the glaze.
Place in oven (fan, temp 180) for 20mins. After the 2omins are up, pour over rest of glaze and cook for a further 15mins.
Once done, remove from oven and let rest for 15mins with a piece of tin foil gently placed over it.
How scrumptious does that look!
My plating is awful but it really did taste awesome. I served my gammon with browned butter peas, hasselback potatoes and saucy red cabbage.
Whilst all of that was cooking, the Christmas music was blaring and the decorations went up.
And for the rest of the cookbook, recipes like Sherry glazed figs with pine nut brittle (if pine nuts didn’t cost so much) and a cinnamon and ricotta cake with caramelised clementines and star anise are definitely ones I want to try.
Pros of the book:
It has beautiful photos, one for each recipe
The book is split into different 3 course menus which is very handy
He includes a Christmas breakfast menus – yum!
He tells you what you can cook in advance so you’re not slaving away over one day
Cons of the book:
I can’t help but hear his voice when I read a recipe
Some of the recipes are golden oldies so not that imaginative
A lot of the ingredients are just impossible to find or too expensive to buy in South Africa – anyone know of any local Christmas books that I can try?
All photos are my own and cannot be used without prior permission.